Tea Time With Jesse

Six of One, Half Dozen the Other

Question Friday

Posted by middlerage on August 17, 2013

This week’s Music Fridays comes in the form  of a question, so I thought I’d tack a few more on and get all questioney up in yo ass. So before we get to the music, let’s get to the questions…

(Note, this isn’t a test, but rather sincere questions for my most awesome resource – mah reeders.)


Numba wun, a grammar question: I’m the first guy to prefer a descriptive rather than prescriptive approach to grammar, but I’m wondering… is one of the below more right? Heck, is one of them just plain wrong?

“There will be a one hour special  session for the Retiring Presidential Address.”

“There will be a one hour special session for the Retiring President’s Address.”


Le Dos: I personally like to refer to good – but doomed – fights as tilting at windmills. For example, trying to fight the onslaught against our privacy – the hoovering of all our personal data into giant corporate databases (Not to mention that whole NSA/Big Brother/Eric Snowden thing) – is nothing short of tilting at windmills. Nevertheless it’s a good fight. But really, Quixote was an asshole, right? He was fighting the wrong thing. Fighting the right fight against overwhelming odds is really more of a David and Goliath thing, init? Except without the triumphant underdog. What do you think dear reader? If I say to you, “fighting wealth inequality in America is tilting at windmills”, is that just wrong?


Here’s a question for my photog friends – what are the rules for using a model release form in public situations? For example say you want to make some arty photos at a state fair – photos for which you will claim to be an artist, for which you will display in a gallery and perhaps sell for real money. I can surmise that if you take a photo of a crowd lined up at the Ferris wheel, that there is no legal issue. It’s a public space, and you can take your photo and safely sell it as a piece of art.

But now assume you convince a few fair goers to pose in front of the Ferris wheel with their smiles and their roasted ear of corn. Now is a model release form required?


And finally – to this week’s Music Fridays. Is it Influence or Infringement?

This has been in the news this week, and thus you may already be familiar with the issue…

A pop song called Blurred Lines is burning up the charts, and it nostalgically invokes a great Marvin Gaye hit called Got to Give it Up. The Gaye Estate claims copyright infringement, while the Blurred Lines artists claim influence. What do you think? The videos are posted below, and for more info you can read this news article about the dustup here.

I posit my friends in the IT field may see infringement since “look and feel” is a recognized, patentable concept in software engineering.  Personally I fall to the “influence not infringement” side of the fence even though I am a huge Marvin Gaye fan and much prefer his song, but your opinions are welcome!


6 Responses to “Question Friday”

  1. Annie said

    In my completely unprofessional opinion, here goes:

    1) Option B sounds much better, and is grammatically accurate, but it depends on what the historical designers have chosen. If it is typically called a “presidential address”, then “retiring presidential address” is exactly the sort of thing Washington-types would come up with, but can’t we compromise with “culminating presidential address”? Or something else that fits the style AND grammar??

    2) You are absolutely right. “Tilting at windmills” is reserved for fights to try to solve problems that don’t exist. (Though if I had a blog, and I made a post of phrases I like, tilting at windmills would be right up there at the top. I love that one.) However, the moral of David and Goliath, and the whole point of the story, is that David DID win. So I am trying to come up with a good idiom that means what you are trying to say. If we are talking about a definite loss, I’d say “into the valley of death rode the 600”, though that has a good dose of blind loyalty that we aren’t looking for here. But it is fighting the good fight, outnumbered. “Like nailing jello to a tree” is a serious sort of losing battle, and may be about as easy as fighting income inequality as a private citizen. “Trying to empty the ocean with a bucket”/”shoveling sand against the tide” also shows adequate futility. “God fights on the side with the heaviest artillery” may demonstrate that you are “bringing a knife to a gunfight” on this one. For privacy in particular, “closing the barn door after the horse has escaped” may be relevant. Okay, that is all I/google have…still not giving me exactly what I want though…

    3) When I was in high school entering the Scholastic Art competitions (last time I did photography for real), the rule was that if the person was identifiable (i.e. face shown), you needed a model release form. This is more strict I think than what real journalists use, which would be standard privacy laws. If you shoot someone spontaneously in a public space, it’s fair game to publish (and profit from). If the photo is taken in a place where they would have reasonable expectation of privacy, then you need permission. If they pose for you, in any location, then they are holding still long enough for you to ask permission, and therefore it would be morally remiss of you not to. However, moral is not the same as legal, and I suspect the “reasonable expectation of privacy in that location” still holds. But I don’t know for sure.

    4) Not gonna touch this one…I am sure there is some sort of case history that defines the number of repeated tones that constitutes copywrite infringement. I’ve heard these lawsuits can get pretty messy. Probably very profitable for the lawyers!

    • middlerage said

      Dang, great response. Nailing jello to a tree is pretty damn good. I like that one a lot. I’ve also always appreciated “like bringing a knife to a gunfight.”

      I should probably try to google some interview with a Nat’l geographic photographer and see if they walk around with a back pocket full of model release forms. It would seem cumbersome outside of a studio.

  2. Dahveed said

    Regarding the influence/infringement debate, I’m going with influence too. Chord progression is materially different, melody is materially different. The basic feel of the groove and the falsetto singing are materially the same. If groove and singing style were enough to be an infringement, then there are a lot of old blues guys sitting on unexploited gold mines. Sadly, it’s probably record companies, not the old blues guys, who own those copyrights.

    • middlerage said

      scientists, writers, musicians…we’re all standing on the shoulders of giants, I don’t see how you can have a purely new piece of music. (Although I could see how you can have plagiarism. I…errr….know it when I see it…)

  3. Dahveed said

    Regarding the model release question. The way I understand it — and my understanding could very well be critically flawed — is you need a model release for each recognizable person in a photo used for “commercial business purposes”. And by commercial biz purposes, I mean that the photo is used in an advertisement, brochure, or any sort of promotion of a business. That would not include an art photo that is sold as a print, or used inside an art photography book. But it would include the same photo used to advertise your photography business or the book on Google. Obviously, it’s a incredibly nuanced differentiation. As a result, some photographers won’t use a photo unless every recognizable person in it has signed a release. There are some exceptions/rules regarding celebrities, but I’m not very familiar with them.

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